A beach scene by German impressionist Max Liebermann
Cornelius Gurlitt hoarded more than 1,500 works of art, some stolen from Jews in Nazi Germany, for more than half a century. The BBC’s Steve Evans was given exclusive access to the high-security storage depot where the 238 treasures he stored at one of his homes, in Austria, are now being held.
One day, no doubt, Hollywood will make a movie.
A reclusive man with his secret hoard of art. In the damp of his home, behind the shutters, spiders would crawl over masterpieces – until his secret was blown and his hidden trove uncovered.
Perhaps the script is already being written. It will be a crime movie, of course – some of these works were snatched from people who were being bundled away to be murdered.
It will be a mystery film, too – how did a sad and lonely man hide such a big collection of pictures for so long. Cornelius Gurlitt would sell a painting when he needed the money (just the odd few millions) – but didn’t the wise and intelligent of the art world ask any questions? Or did they not want to ask for fear of the answer?
Take care and keep laughing!